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Helping More People to Discover Biking

As the Publicity Coordinator for the Prairie Cycle Club, Daniella Birch is always thinking about how to get more people involved in riding. A biker for 10 years, she has expanded her notion of what's possible on a bike as her confidence has grown. Today, as a member of a Community Support Agriculture (CSA), she does not hesitate to ride 20 miles to buy eggs from a local farmer.

As her confidence and love of biking has grown, so has her commitment to helping others see and experience the benefits of biking. Daniella recent.y shared with me her motivation for riding and her efforts to share this with others.

She cites her Puerto Rican and Chinese heritage and desire to see more diversity in the types of people riding. "I want to get more people like me to realize that biking is a good way to be healthy and save money." This same motivation led to her involvement with the Prairie Cycle Club over the past three years.

A recreational rider and one who uses the bike for transportation, including commuting, Daniella spans different notions of what it means to ride. She lists some very practical reasons for biking:

  • It's economical - bike investments last longer than a car.

  • It's healthy and efficient - the bike provides fitness just by getting around.

  • ​I don't have to think about when am I going to fit in time to go to the gym.

  • It's enjoyable - biking is such a beautiful form of transportation.

Using her background as a web developer, she started by helping with online route maps along with an increased social media presence. She notes that the mix of riders has shifted from primarily middle-aged guys to include a broader representation of riders. The increased diversity is also reflected on the club's board which is now 50% women and includes minorities. Daniella's vision is an environment when more people get on the bike and are not afraid or intimated by it. Especially people who don't normally think of riding as a healthy option.

Multiple Bikes for Riding

Increased diversity in cycling, promotion of a healthy lifestyle and an economical way to get around - what's not to like?

About Prairie Cycle Club (PCC)

Located in Champaign-Urbana, IL, the club has existed since the 1970s and focuses on individuals interested in learning more about riding in a group. Not quite a racing club, the organization teaches group riding skills and helps people to bridge to more advanced cycling. These include activities like how to signal and call to other riders, or prepare for longer rides, It is a good community to help people get beyond the novice level of riding. The club has five organized rides per week that draws in a wide swath of people from soccer moms to students. Group rides can range from 40-60 miles on weekends, with shorter distance rides during the week, including a casual ride on Wednesdays for individuals getting reacquainted with cycling. In August, the group will hold their annual Champaign Urbana Across Prairie (CUAP) ride.

Daniella with some of her favorite bikes.

Daniella owns three bikes for her different riding situations. A commuter bike for short distances which is decked out with baskets to pick up groceries at the store - it's an old iconic English 3-speed saved from the dumpster. A long-distance commuter bike which is a 1970s-era Mobecane passed down from a friend since it fit Daniella better. In her words, "the seat fits like a glass slipper." She uses it for the ride to pick up eggs.. Her high-end bike is a Trek Project One designed for women that has a light-weight an aluminum frame. She uses it to ride with the racers. However, she's dreaming of getting a carbon-fiber bike.

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